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European Soil Bureau (ESBN) > Soil Database at scale 1:250K

Georeferenced Soil Database for Europe at scale 1:250K.
The scale and the precision of the 1:1,000,000 database is no longer sufficient to ensure the harmonisation in methodology between the various soil survey organisations and to meet the needs for users of soil information. The Task Force of the European Environment Agency and DG XI (now Environment) of the European Commission initiated a study on the feasibility of the creation of a soil inventory of Europe at scale 1:250,000 (Dudal et al., 1993). The study concluded that the preparation of such a map was feasible and desirable. Meetings of the heads of soil surveys of the European Union, (Hodgson, 1991; Le Bas and Jamagne, 1996) recommended and endorsed the preparation of a georeferenced soil database for Europe at scale 1:250,000. The implementation of these recommendations was ensured by the (SISD) and subsequently entrusted to the European Soils Bureau (Montanarella, 1996).

A specific working group elaborated the basic concepts underlying the creation of this new database. A Manual of Procedures was therefore published (ESBN, 1998), outlining the basic structure and procedures of this new soil inventory. The Manual has subsequently been translated into French (ESBN, 2001), Italian (ESBN, 1999a) and Spanish (1999b, and a version in German is in preparation.

In five selected areas of Europe (Figure 3) detailed pilot studies were implemented, leading to the creation of the first elements of a complete coverage of Europe in the future. During 2003 a new pilot area covering the complete Danube river basin was initiated and preliminary results are now available for Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

1. Oder basin
2. Test area of Chemnitz (Germany)
3. International pilot project of the Meuse basin (France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands)
4. Test area of Cte d'Or (Dijon)
5. National Program of Italy
6. National Program of Lebanon
7. Interreg II Italy - Albania
8. Danube basin
Figure 3: Pilot areas at 1:250,000 scale completed or on-going by 2005.

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European Communities, 1995-
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European Commission - Joint Research Centre
Institute for Environment and Sustainability
Marc Van Liedekerke(tel. +39-0332-785179)
Panos Panagos (tel. +39-0332-785574)